‘Soylent Green’ provides fictionalized insight for 2020 at ‘In Context’

Melissa Gasia
Staff Writer

The Students Engaged in Environmental Discussion and Service, or SEEDS Club and La Verne Community Roundtable for Sustainable Solutions presented a showing of the film “Soylent Green” for their “In Context” seminar series at LaFetra Auditorium Oct. 10.

“Soylent Green” is a classic science fiction movie from 1973 that depicts what the world would look like in New York City in the year 2020 — polluted and overpopulated with 40 million people.

Housings will be overcrowded with people lying down on top of each other. The rich will continue to live in luxurious apartments with women as part of the furniture where they have the choice to keep them or let them live in poverty.

La Verne resident Brian Bennett described the movie as a “scary look at the future when everything’s done.”

Fresh or natural food became extinct or extremely rare that only the rich can afford. Upon the murder of the owner of the Soylent Company, the world’s main food supply, a detective uncovers the dark truth behind Soylent Green’s main secret ingredient.

After there was a small discussion about the movie, the technology and the “scary” future between the audience and Jay Jones, faculty advisor of the SEEDS club and professor of biology.

Jones described the movie as a hyperbole but it did point out important matters about the world.

“I was sitting in my office contemplating these futuristic movies like 1984 and so forth and then thinking about how accurate they were,” Jones said.

He said the movie was accurate in the sense of wealth distribution. The economy in America is supposed to be “doing well” but this applies only to certain people. The Gini index shows how wealth is becoming concentrated to the rich while the rest of the population’s buying power is going down.

Jones said he is disheartened by some people’s indifference about the environment and so he continues to find ways to get people to understand what can happen if people do not start to act about the problem.

SEEDS club plays weekly “In Context” seminar series at LaFetra Auditorium that features films, chosen by Jones, designed to develop awareness about the environment, oil, diet and nutrition with added group discussions after the film.

They sometimes invite a speaker to help influence the audience. Cassandra Armstrong is scheduled Nov. 21 to describe her experience of her recent trip from Africa. This is to give an insight to the listeners of the environment on the other side of the world.

Brian and Colleen Bennett, along with their son Kyle, have been coming to the series for years.

“It’s very interesting,” La Verne resident Colleen Bennett said. “Usually documentaries that we don’t usually see at other places. Not too many venues where you can see films like this.”

“We got all these environmental things going on and we continue going on business as usual and people don’t realize how quickly it’s coming and how fast its accelerating,” Jones said.

It is free and open to the public every Friday at 7 p.m. at LaFetra Auditorium.

Melissa Gasia can be reached at melissa.gasia@laverne.edu

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